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Yesterday’s classics for today’s children: The Baldwin Project


I discovered the Baldwin Online Children’s Literature Project, through LIS News this morning.

Named in honor of James Baldwin (1841-1925), and officially called, Bringing Yesterday’s Classics to Today’s Children,

the Baldwin Project seeks to make available online a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers of children. Our focus, initially, is on literature for children that is in the public domain in the United States. This includes all works first published before 1923. The period from 1880 or so until 1922 offers a wealth of material in all categories, including: Nursery Rhymes, Fables, Folk Tales, Myths, Legends and Hero Stories, Literary Fairy Tales, Bible Stories, Nature Stories, Biography, History, Fiction, Poetry, Storytelling, Games, and Craft Activities.

Titles include the classics many of us read a generation or two ago, for instance, the works of Padraic Colum, Howard Pyle, Ruth Sawyer, and Andrew Lang..

Users have permission to:

print copies for personal and educational uses. The texts are formatted so that attractive copies can be printed easily, in larger type for younger readers and smaller type for older ones, with illustrations included where possible. Teachers and parents can make use of the readers that are already available, or they can construct their own readers by selecting stories from the existing pool.

The growing collection now includes 514 books and is searchable: 

By author
By books
, and within books:

By Genre
By Subgenre
By Title

Items in collected works are searchable, as well:

By Title
By Genre
By SubGenre

Users can also browse:

What’s New
In the Works

It’s a no-brainer to see how useful this collection might be for grad students studying the history of books and children’s lit, for high school students researching folklore or the literature of a period, for elementary librarians and classroom teachers looking to share classic older titles with young students, and for parents and grandparents eager to share old favorites with the young people they love.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Geraldine Vaccaro says:

    I just read your information how Peter the Great learned shipbuilding….You rightly suggest he went to the Holland to learn the trade but subsequently went to England in order to “learn the finer trade of shipbuilding and add the supposed comment Peter made that “if I hadn’t gone to England I’d just remained a simple carpenter”…..During the Golden Age 1500 and 1600’s Holland had a Navy that sailed around the Globe keeping the sea lanes open for commerce. Holland was by far THE expert in shipbuilding and they had during Peter the Great’s visit to Europe 5 times the number of ships England had. Holland ruled the oceans, not England.
    Peter the Great went to England to meet the Dutch Prince Willem van Oranje who was king of England at that time. Peter learned in England “the art of City Planning”…..nothing to do with ship building.. There were numerous wars between England and the Dutch that took place at sea in which England was totally defeated/destroyed EVERY time. Teaching children requires knowing ones subject.
    Peter the Great took with him to Russia a Dutch ship builder (most likely more than one, although one is mentioned) to build him a Navy, but not before he had him Christened in the Russian Orthodox faith and had Russified his name. Today, there is still in the Russian Navy, certain Naval terminology in Dutch for which there, at the time, was no equivalent in Russian.
    The “hovel” in Zaandam where Peter lived for a few days was in the early 1900 protected by a building that now surrounds the hovel paid for by Russia. Peter remained lifelong friends with its owner. The Netherlands has always maintained a close relationship with Russia. Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna, daughter of Tsar Paul I married the lowly Dutch Prince, later King Willem II. She introduced at the Dutch Court some protocol which was sorely lacking. She is the mother of Dutch King Willem III, the grandmother of Queen Wilhelmina, great grandmother of Queen Juliand – etc….Queen Beatrix…and currently King Willem-Alexander commonly referred to as “Alex”
    If there is anything in history or today that has anything to do with the ocean, the building of dikes the recovery of sunken subs (the Kursk) The Netherlands are the experts. One third of the Netherlands is below sea level, and they know how to fight the oceans as well as inland waterways. .The Dutch Authority that governs water management also governs the road systems. Most roads ARE in fact dikes through out the country.

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